Time to vote, skatties

2009-02-12 00:00

ESTELLE SINKINS

satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys and the most famous white woman in Africa, Evita Bezuidenhout, have found they have one thing in common — they’re passionate about getting people out to vote in the forthcoming general election.

Bezuidenhout, who recently launched her political party, Evita’s People’s Party, will be joining Uys at the Elizabeth Sneddon later this month to answer questions from his audience and to encourage South Africans to go to the polls.

“Some people are scared to vote in our general election in case something happens to them,” she says. “Believe me, bad things only happen if we don’t vote.

“Why do so few South Africans know the most important detail of our democratic process? The vote is secret, which simply means, don’t tell anyone who you will vote for! Keep your vote secret.

“If anyone comes to you and says ‘vote for our party or else we burn down your house’, lie. Say: ‘Yes, of course I will vote for you. Amandla! Viva!’ And then on election day, when you are in that voting booth, you decide. You make your cross next to your choice. No one needs to know.”

But Bezuidenhout is also concerned that hiding one’s vote from the world carries its own risks in the long term. “It could lead to the rigging of ballot boxes, which will be difficult to counteract because no one will admit they voted for the opposition,” she adds.

“Yes, ideally we should tell the bullies to get lost if they can’t tolerate democracy. Weg is jy, Malema! Some people will and must do it. Diversity and tolerance of opinion is better than kowtowing to thuggery.

“I think we are on the right path, but those people who need secrecy to protect the exercising of their opinion, must not be scared to use it.”

Bezuidenhout also believes voters need to find out more about the candidates on the proportional representation lists and if they’re unsure about who to vote for, to opt for one of the smaller parties, as it’s essential that they also have a voice in Parliament.

New United States president Barack Obama enthused a nation with the simple words “Yes, we can!”, and Bezuidenhout is hoping to do the same with her catch phrase, “No, you can’t”.

“We need to tell candidates: you can’t go to Parliament with a criminal record. You can’t get away with crime and fraud. You can’t ignore your responsibilities to the communities that voted for your party. You can’t hide behind the word racism. You can’t think that because you’re a cadre on a list you can rule the world without rules.”

If you want to ask Bezuidenhout more about her party’s plans, head to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban) from February 17 to February 28 where she’ll be sharing a platform with Uys in Elections and Erections.

Tickets range from R70 to R120 and can be booked through Computicket.

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